Question of Palestine home
Economic and Social Council
12 February 1993
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Agenda item 11
FURTHER PROMOTION AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND
FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS, INCLUDING THE QUESTION OF THE
PROGRAMME AND METHODS OF WORK OF THE COMMISSION
Note verbale dated 4 February 1993 from the Permanent Mission of
the League of Arab States to the United Nations Office at Geneva
addressed to the Under-Secretary-General for Human Rights
1. The Permanent Mission of the League of Arab States to the United Nations Office at Geneva presents its compliments to the Centre for Human Rights and has the honour to transmit herewith a copy of the report and recommendations of the Meeting of the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights, held at the Headquarters of the Arab League from 10 to 14 January 1993, which was attended by a representative of the Centre.
2. The Permanent Mission of the League of Arab States requests the Centre for Human Rights to regard this report as an official document and to circulate it to the members of the Commission on Human Rights at its forty-ninth session.
Report and recommendations of the Arab Standing Committee
on Human Rights at its eleventh session held at Cairo
from 10 to 14 January 1993
Opening of the session
The eleventh session of the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights was opened on the morning of 10 January 1993 in the main hall at the headquarters of the secretariat of the League of Arab States at Cairo in the presence of Dr. Ahmed Esmat Abdel Meguid, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.
This session was characterized by the participation of a large number of governmental and non-governmental organizations concerned with human rights, together with a group of government officials and senior members of the press and the judiciary, including:
(a) Chief Justice Farouq Saif al-Nasr, Minister of Justice of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
(b) His Eminence Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazzali, the well-known exponent of the Islamic faith.
(c) Ambassador Shafi'i Abdul Hamid, Chairman of the Arab Committee on Human Rights.
(d) The ambassadors and representatives of the Arab States to the League.
(e) The Assistant Secretaries-General of the League.
(f) Senior members of the judiciary, the deans of some of the faculties of law at Cairo, representatives of governmental organizations and the heads of non-governmental organizations concerned with human rights, and senior members of the press at Cairo.
2. The Secretary-General of the League of Arab States delivered an address in which he welcomed the participating delegations, the representatives of governmental organizations, the heads of non-governmental organizations and the Arab World's intellectual elite in the field of human rights. He emphasized the concern that the League of Arab States was showing for human rights issues, which had prompted it to establish a special department concerned with human rights affairs. He pointed out that Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights in the occupied Arab territories had become a customary practice in Israeli politics. The time had therefore come for the States that had signed the Fourth Geneva Convention to intervene and deter Israel from its barbaric acts against the Palestinian people, particularly by insisting on compliance with Security Council resolution 799 which called for the return of the Palestinian deportees. He indicated that the World Conference on Human Rights, due to be held at Vienna in June 1993, constituted a major step forward towards the development and promotion of human rights throughout the world.
He expressed the hope that the Committee would be able to finalize the draft Charter on Human Rights, which was included on the agenda, so that it could be adopted by the Council of the League at its next session.
3. Statements were then made by Ambassador Shafi'i Abdul Hamid, Chairman of the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights; His Eminence Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazzali; Mr. Said Kamal, Ambassador of the State of Palestine; Mr. E. Houshmand, representative of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights at Geneva (on behalf of the governmental organizations); Mr. Mohamed Ennaceur, head of the delegation of the Republic of Tunisia; and Mr. Haseeb ben Ammar, head of the Arab Human Rights Institute at Tunis (on behalf of the non-governmental organizations).
They expressed deep satisfaction at the concern that the League of Arab States was showing for human rights issues and also at the manner in which non-governmental organizations were participating in the meetings of the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights with a view to promoting joint Arab action in this field.
The Committee discussed the draft agenda that had been prepared by the secretariat (Department of Legal Affairs) and approved it, unamended, in the following form:
1. Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Arab territories.
2. Violations of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3. The draft Arab Charter on Human Rights.
4. Preparation of ideas and final plan of action for the agenda of the World Conference on Human Rights, which is scheduled to be held in June 1993.
Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Arab territories
The Committee considered the note from the secretariat and the reports annexed thereto, as well as the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights, the statements of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the decisions of the Council of the Arab League affirming the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967.
The Committee heard the views of the Arab delegations concerning the Palestinians who had been deported by Israel and decided to make a recommendation to the emergency meeting of the Council of the League to be held on 11 January 1993, urging it to call upon the Security Council to hold an urgent meeting and adopt measures conducive to the implementation of its resolution 799, including resort to the application of the provisions of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations (the text of recommendation 1 is reproduced in the Annex).
The Committee also heard the report of the subcommittee that had been formed to study this matter. After discussions, it was recommended as follows:
1. The acts of wilful murder to which members of the Palestinian people are being subjected at the hands of the Israeli occupation authorities, as well as the bone-breaking and permanent disabilities that are being inflicted on them, the miscarriages that pregnant women are suffering after being subjected to severe beatings or the explosion of gas grenades inside enclosed premises, and the repeated commission of massacres clearly indicate that the Israeli occupation authorities are pursuing a deliberate policy involving the commission of acts that constitute crimes against humanity, as defined by the principles of international law and the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
2. The collective punishments that the Israeli occupation authorities are imposing on Palestinians, such as expulsion from their property and their homeland, demolition of houses, seizure of land, the establishment of settlements in the occupied territories, the closure of schools and universities, the imposition of curfews, arbitrary mass arrests, administrative detention, the uprooting of fruit-bearing trees and the practice of torture during interrogation and in the prisons and detention centres constitute war crimes as defined by the provisions and principles of both international law and international humanitarian law.
3. The international community, represented by the United Nations, has a responsibility in the face of the ongoing commission of these crimes. The United Nations should be called upon to take the requisite measures to put an end to such crimes and ensure the punishment of their perpetrators.
4. The international community should be called upon to provide international protection, in accordance with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, for the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation until the cessation of that occupation, and to put an end to Israel's flouting of the will of the international community.
5. The secretariat of the Arab League should be requested to prepare an annual report containing full information on Israeli violations of human rights and of international law in Palestine and the occupied Arab territories and on the outcome of Arab endeavours at the international level to put an end to those violations and to provide the necessary international legal protection for the Palestinian people. This report should be submitted to the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights and to the Council of the League with a view to the adoption of appropriate measures and procedures.
6. The Permanent Arab Missions at New York and Geneva should be requested to monitor the outcome of the proposal concerning the holding of a conference of the States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Endeavours should be made to hold this conference as soon as possible with a view to ensuring the application of the provisions of article 1 of the Convention, under which the provisions of the Convention should be respected and applied in the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories.
7. The Arab Missions at New York should request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to undertake a study on the effects of Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Arab territories on the current endeavours to achieve a peaceful settlement.
Recommendation of the Arab Standing Committee
on Human Rights at its eleventh session
The Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights, meeting at its eleventh session on 10 January 1993, issued the following recommendation:
The Committee has studied the question of the Palestinians whom Israel has dispossessed and deported from their homeland in violation of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. In so far as this deportation constitutes a flagrant violation of basic human rights and of the International Covenants, the international community, represented by the Security Council, saw fit to condemn the Israeli measures by adopting resolution 799 of 18 December 1992, paragraph 4 of which demands that Israel, the occupying Power, ensure the safe and immediate return to the occupied territories of all those deported, and paragraph 3 of which simultaneously reaffirms the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon.
In the light of Israel's refusal to comply with the above-mentioned Security Council resolution, the Committee recommends that the distinguished Council of the League, at its special emergency session, should call upon the Security Council to meet immediately in order to take measures conducive to the implementation of resolution 799, including resort to the application of the provisions of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.
The Committee also recommends support for the position of the Lebanese Government on this issue, which is consistent with Lebanon's independence and territorial sovereignty.